Publication in a high-tier journal is a goal for many clinical researchers. These journals can be highly selective, choosing only to publish papers reporting the most novel and clinically relevant research. Getting published in a high-tier journal endorses the quality and significance of the research and gives kudos to the authors and their institutions. But it is not easy. In a recent issue of “The MAP newsletter” from the International Society for Medical Publication Professionals (ISMPP), Lisa Moore, Karen King and Jason Gardner (Complete Medical Communications) share their experiences and tips on how it can be done.
The authors suggest that aspects other than impact factor should be considered when selecting a journal, including the suitability and novelty of the research and the journal’s lead time (time to publication). For pivotal clinical trials, publication of results in a high-tier journal may be aligned with presentation at a key scientific congress or with regulatory approval of a drug. In these circumstances, where timing is everything, the authors state that careful planning and communication with the journal is essential. Proactive strategies for dealing with potential complications should be incorporated into manuscript development timelines, as should the time required post-submission to address journal and peer review comments. The authors provide a case study describing approaches to meet a challenging publication timeline. The authors also recommend making use of the many facilities available through high-tier journals for extending the reach of a publication and suggest considering these during the manuscript planning stages, rather than post-acceptance.